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”Manuel Bauer is more than simply a professional: he is a close friend of mine. He also knows a great deal about Tibet, about the Tibetan community, and he has spent years making himself familiar with our culture. He understands Tibet comprehensively, as he does the exile community; and he knows me very well too. It is this knowledge that allows his pictures to say so much about their subjects.”
The Dalai Lama

”The 14th Dalai Lama was born in the village of Taktser, a collection of mud huts on what was once the Silk Road, surrounded by mountains 6000 metres high. His mother had already borne 16 children, seven of which survived. According to the Western calendar, the boy was born in the early hours of 6 July 1935; by Tibetan reckoning he entered the world on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Year of the Wood Pig. He was born in a stall, in the midst of ruminating yaks.” Christian Schmidt

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has achieved cult status for many in the Western world as a symbol of peaceful resistance, religious scholarship and as a guide and inspiration for achieving tranquillity and inner happiness. Swiss photographer Manuel Bauer had the privilege of accompanying the Dalai Lama over the course of three years and more than 30 trips. He was permitted to be present behind closed doors, to take photographs even during the Dalai Lama’s most private period of the day: while meditating in the early hours of the morning. Bauer’s pictures capture a host of moments from a public appearance in Central Park in front of an audience of 60,000, to a ceremony with oracles in traditional costume transmitting their prophecies for the coming year in a remote monastery in northern India.

Through personal narratives in which His Holiness demonstrates unexpected candour, this book provides an amusing and informative view into his personal history proving that enlightenment and spirituality do not preclude a realistic approach to modern life. As Christian Schmidt writes: ”He asks no one to follow him on his path to world improvement. Being a Buddhist, he does not proselytise. To his Western listeners he has this to say: what matters is not what one believes or what teaching one follows. What matters is one’s motivation for doing so, and the manner in which one does it.”